One of the questions I’m most often asked is “I just got an iPad, what apps should I have on it?” Of course everybody’s specific app needs are different, but I have a few standards that are universally helpful, informative, or just plain fun.

Here are my iPad app suggestions:


Day One – Hands down the best journal writing app in the game. With dedicated iPad, iPhone and Mac clients, combined with the ability to geotag posts, format text, add photos & video links, all with iCloud or DropBox syncing, this is without question the best way to preserve your personal history. If you keep a journal, or want to start one, Day One makes it a simple experience. Follow @DayOneApp on Twitter. AppStore

Grocery IQ – A comprehensive web-syncing, shareable, e-coupon enabled grocery shopping list. Incorporating a database pre-populated with millions of grocery items, building your own list is a snap. That’s just the beginning, as the app will sync not only between your iPad and your iPhone, you can also share lists with family members or roommates, saving unnecessary trips to the store.  Learn more by following them @GroceryIQ on Twitter. AppStore

Open Table – If you’re not shopping for your food, you must be eating out. If you are, you can’t beat OpenTable for all your reservation needs. With a build in map and leveraging your iPad’s geolocating capabilities, this app can tell you what restaurants are close, and which have available reservations. Track your points, manage your account and make dining out easy. AppStore

Find My iPhone – Why Apple doesn’t install this app by default, I’ll never know, but it’s well worth installing on every iDevice you have – so you can find any of your other iDevices in the event they go missing. Of course, you still need to set up each of your devices to be found, and Apple gives clear info on how to do that here.


1Password – The one app I absolutely can’t live without. Using secure passwords is vital behavior today, but who can ever remember that your brokerage account password is Tr~jUU&#kCtQLub**? 1Password is here to do all that work for you. For remembering login info, banking information, and virtually any personal data you can throw at it, 1Password stores it all in a military-grade encrypted database, ready to be accessed when you enter your master password. With a built-in web browser, you can surf the web and have the app fill in your password info with a single tap. Never forget a password again, and never remember a password ever again.

Keynote – Seems that everybody needs to create a presentation these days, not just business people. Whether it’s a homework project, a gameplan for your next fundraiser, or a pitch to your spouse why Florence should be your next vacation destination, Keynote helps you assemble your deck with ease – and yields a damn fine looking finished product. Oh yeah, it’s great for all those business decks too.

Pages – No need to wait around for Microsoft to port Word to iOS, Apple’s own Pages is already a capable word processing app that can open (and output!) Word files. With the advent of iCloud, all your Pages documents can be stored in the cloud, and accessible from any of your Pages-equipped iOS devices or Macs. Beyond that, Pages has a slick set of templates that’ll quickly get you on your way to creating and sharing great documents.

Numbers – Like Pages, Numbers is Apple’s answer to Microsoft Excel. While perhaps not as robust as Excel, Numbers is more than ready to handle most users’ spreadsheet needs. Open Excel files, and save & share them as Excel, Numbers or PDF files, and you’re good to go.

Dropbox – With all the file syncing services out there, Dropbox is tough to beat given its integration into countless other apps and its virtually rock solid performance. Install it on your Macs and iOS devices and never worry about emailing yourself an important file, or carrying around a USB key – your Dropbox can have whatever files you need ready to go. Photos, presentations, spreadsheets, or text documents, Dropbox can handle almost any file you throw its way. The more you get into using your iPad you’ll discover how many apps utilize Dropbox for their behind the scenes synching service, so you might as well install it now so it’s there when you need it.

Digits – Mundane, true, but this upgrade to the standard iOS Calculator improves upon it pre-installed brother with the addition of a few key features. With the ability to edit calculations on a running tape, share tapes via email or printing, and save multiple tapes, you’ll soon discover that Digits is the calculator app that Apple should’ve built.

Skitch – Ever needed to quickly annotate a photo, graphic, screenshot or document? Skitch has you covered with a straightforward user interface and key annotation features, it’s my go-to app for annotating maps and web pages using an in-app browser. When it comes sharing your documents, Skitch has options to email, play in AirPlay or even create a dedicated web link for hosted sharing. Combined with the power of your Evernote account

Evernote – Need a repository for all the random bits of info you have circulating in your daily life? Keeping track of ideas and elements for a big project? Evernote’s got you covered with a service that after four years of continuous improvements, has a feature set is without peer.

Social Media

Facebook – It’s Facebook, so what’s there left to say? You use it, so you might as well download the app for a cleaner and more full-featured user experience than Safari offers.


Vintique – Building on the Instagram concept of adding filters to existing images, Vintique brings along a slew of innovative filters, borders and tools to go beyond the norm and create to some truly dynamic and different looking photos.

Over – My new go-to app for the creative addition of text to photos for sharing in social media and wherever else that might prove useful. Tons of fonts, easy text placement, and a cool way to let your creativity run wild.

Snapseed – Allowing more artistic control than Vintique, and a novel user interface that simplifies the artistic process, this is yet another photo app worth checking out.


7 Little Words – A fun twist on all the word games out there. Build words out of a group of letter combo tiles. Hell, I don’t know how to describe it, but if you like word jumble games, why not download this and give it a try. Note: might prove addictive.

Solebon – With more solitaire games than you even knew existed, Solebon’s 143 variations will keep you busy for months to come. Clean graphics, speedy gameplay make this the solitaire app to own if solo card games are your thing.

What else?

I’ll try to keep this a live lists, so bookmark it and check back now and then to see what else I recommend. Also, if there’s anything you think is missing from this list, please feel free to post your app suggestions in the comments.